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Interview of Greece’s Ambassador Gabriel Coptsidis at “The Warsaw Voice”

As Appealing as Always
Greece’s Ambassador to Poland, Gabriel Coptsidis, talks to Ewa Hancock. (magazine April 2011)

What steps has Greece taken to extricate itself from the financial crisis?
The Greek government has so far managed to successfully complete a series of reforms in crucial sectors. It has radically limited the operational costs of the public sector and fully reformed the pension and labor market systems as well as the local government structure. Greece continues to press ahead with the necessary structural reforms aimed at promoting growth. In this area, steps have been taken to further reduce counterproductive public expenditure, increase competitiveness, remove bureaucratic obstacles from the investment procedure, introduce a new institutional framework for the promotion of exports, and make an organized effort to evaluate public property.
Let me please underline at this point that the European Council of euro-area member states on March 11—which the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, also attended—decided to reduce the interest rate on the loan for Greece by 1 percent and to prolong the loan repayment. These two factors are strong and vivid proof that our partners in the EU recognize the huge effort, the significant progress and sacrifices made so far by the Greek people.
Will the situation in Greece affect Greek investors in Poland?
We don’t expect that the current situation will negatively affect economic relations between the two countries. On the contrary, we believe that new opportunities have been created. Besides, Poland’s sustainable development, with its solid economic foundations, favorable location in the center of Europe, 38-million-strong consumer market and well-educated work force, makes the country an attractive place for investment and business expansion. On the other hand, Greek companies that are active in the countries of Southeast Europe in almost every sector of the economy—including information technology and telecommunications, the finance sector, the food and beverage sector, the energy and petroleum sector, building and packaging materials, construction and real estate—are also active on the Polish market.
When it comes to Greek investment in Poland, about 40 companies with Greek capital are currently active on the Polish market. Greek-owned companies have invested more than 1.4 billion euros and created a total of 11,000 jobs in Poland. Greek-owned companies have developed their business in various sectors of the economy. For instance, Germanos/Play is active in telecommunications, Polbank in the banking sector, Coca Cola/Hellenic Bottling Company in beverages, J&P Avax and Alfa Grisin in construction, Terna Energy in renewable energy, Chipita in food, and Totolotek in gaming.
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